Make Music Happen

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Prehistory

Exclusive to Patronism!
Released: January 29, 2013

I used to make compliation tapes for my family and friends at momentous occasions.  There are some floating around out there from when I graduated high school, which go back to the first recordings I did in 7th grade.  I don't have a copy of it, but I am absolutely certain that someone does.

However, at the end of college, before Schrödinger's Cat, Woodwork, Trio Los Vigilantes, my solo work, or even BoomBox... I put together this collection of songs, mostly college, mostly a vocal.  A couple of these songs would grow into the S-Cat repertoire:  Through the Wall, and Yes, You.

There's a solo version of Yes, You, as well as a sloppy but enthusiastic live rendition.  All of these were fun to sing.

The last track was not originally on the tape.  It was a song I wrote for an indie movie that went to Sundance Film Festival, and you could say... it was the grandfather of the Hooker Song.

Enjoy!

 
Naturally: Public Media Download Media

Naturally was a song by Huey Lewis & the News, which I sang with my high-school, all-male a cappella group first (the Pioneers).  Then I sang it with my high school, semi-pro doo-wop group (Leroy's Basement).  I had never sung the lead, it was always Nolan Emlaw, a friend who I tried to imitate, vocally.

When I came to UT, I joined Longhorn Singers, and the director Robert Galvan put this group of 12 guys together so I could perform it at our concert... finally as the lead.  I believe this was recorded in March 1992 in Bates Recital Hall on the UT campus.

Helplessly Hoping: Public Media Download Media

Helplessly Hoping is a song by Crosby Stills & Nash, which I performed with Ryan Striker and Neal Mehta, again in Bates Recital Hall at a Longhorn Singers show.  This was probably in the fall of 1992.  Ryan played the guitar part, Neal and I screwed up the words... and someone's foot is tapping completely out of rhythm... but it turned out ok nonethless.

Through the Wall: Public Media Download Media

This was the first version of "Through the Wall" that I ever did, and this is a recording of Leroy's Basement, my high school doo-wop group.  Nate Clevenger on bass/bari, Josh Pardon on baritone, and Nolan Emlaw on first tenor.

My sister had given me a cassette tape of a cappella music when she came back from college one year, and the original version, by the Bobs, was on it.  I thought it was hilarious and even though Leroy's Basement was a doo-wop quartet, I thought the song was too good not to do.

It would of course become a Schrödinger's Cat staple, with Jackson Blacklock singing the lead, 6 years after this recording was made.  You can hear his version of it on Big Beat A Cappella, also available here on Patronism.

Under the Boardwalk: Public Media Download Media

Another one from Leroy's Basement.  No real story to the selection of this song... we were a doo-wop group.  We also sang Earth Angel, Naturally, Duke of Earl and a few other standards. 

Both of these songs from Leroy's Basement were recorded in the summer of 1992.

Love Is: Public Media Download Media

When I was a sophmore, one of the girls in Longhorn Singers, Beth Balzar, asked me to do this duet with her, Love Is, by Brian McKnight and Vanessa Williams.  She said she thought he sounded just like me.

I thought she was crazy... I didn't sing R&B, I was a doo-wop guy.  Also... hello... I'm still not anywhere near Brian McKnight.

But anyway, even though there are some bobbles in this performance, when you listen there's a moment when I hit the line, "I'll take my chances that I'm not too late." 

That was literally the first time I had pushed my voice up into that range.  Honestly, I didn't know how I was going to hit those notes, even when we walked out on stage. 

But it happened, and this is a recording of my discovery of a whole new tool: head voice and high range.

Up on the Roof: Public Media Download Media

Up on the Roof has always been one of my favorites to sing.  It's a tune by Gerry Goffin and Carole King, and this arrangement was one that I lifted from the Nylons... I think it was either their record Seamless or Happy Together.

This recording is probably from March 1994, and this song would also later become a staple in the Schödinger's Cat repertoire.  Jacob Detamore and John Wydra sang with me on this recording, and they would be members the original lineup of S-Cat in 1997.

That Lonesome Road: Public Media Download Media

In the Fall of 1994, I sang this version of That Lonesome Road, again in Bates Recital Hall with members of Longhorn Singers.  Suzy Zeffron was the singer who brought it to the group.  I believe Jacob Detamore, who would later be in the original lineup of Schrödinger's Cat, was also on this recording, along with Melinda Mendoza, who was a wonderful friend.

This song would also become a staple in the Schrödinger's Cat repertoire with a few musical modifications, and can be heard on Big Beat A Cappella, also available here on Patronism.

Rock and Roll Lullaby: Public Media Download Media

This song, by BJ Thomas, was another of my favorites to sing.  We did it later with Schrodinger's Cat once or twice.  Later, when we opened for Mr. Thomas, we had grand plans of singing it with him... but we wound up just backing him up on an Elvis tune instead.

This was another song I first heard on the a cappella mix tape my sister had given me in 1991.  I picked apart the arrangement by ear, and put this group together to perform it at a Longhorn Singers Cabaret, I believe in December 1994.

Lester Chiu was on this recording, singing background on "Sha na na na na, na na na na, it'll be all right..."  He would later co-found S-Cat with me.

The Longest Time: Public Media Download Media

Here it is... the inevitable Billy Joel classic.  This featured several guys who would go on to be in the original lineup of Schrodinger's Cat - me, Jacob Detamore, John Wydra, Rob Nolan and I believe Lester Chiu.  It was recorded probably in the Spring of 1996.

I only sang two lines, one of which I completely screwed up.  However, I learned the positive lesson: if you're going to do it, go big or go home.  You'll hear me get off on the wrong lyric, try to salvage it by making up words on teh fly, and eventually just saying "Uuuuuuh... For the Longest Time!"  At that point I took a huge bow and you can hear the audience applaud.  Turns out... we all love a good recovery.

Yes, You: Public Media Download Media

One of the last songs I did in Longhorn Singers was Yes, You, by Bobby McFerrin.  This was May of 1996, about 6 months before Lester and I started S-Cat.

Lester would go on to sing the same background part in S-Cat when we did this, and the song is also on Big Beat A Cappella.  You can hear Hardy Janson and someone else making a joke at the end that the next song would be the Spanish version, Si, tu...

Yes, You - Solo: Public Media Download Media

This is my scratch version of Yes, You, recorded in my bedroom on my trusty old Yamaha MT44D.  I sang all the parts, and used this to audition for the Longhorn Singers cabaret later that Spring.  After they told me I could sing it, then I put the group together.

If you listen carefully, you'll hear that I used a pitch shifter to hit the bass notes.  My voice doesn't go that low without help.

Try: Public Media Download Media

This was a song I wrote for a girl who I was desperately in love with.  It's a very long story, but this is also the first song I ever wrote for someone that I played for them live.  This is also the last song I ever wrote for someone that I played for them live.

Turns out that while it's beautiful in a story, when it happens to you... it's a little intense.  Lesson learned - metaphors are better, and unless it's a happy song, don't sing directly at someone if you wrote the song for them...

Untitled and Unknown: Public Media Download Media

This was a solo guitar piece that I wrote soon after I'd heard Michael Hedges for the first time.  If you don't know him... stop reading this and youtube him ... right now.

So I think I wrote this in late 1994 or early 1995.  I remember recording it in my bedroom at the SHoreline apartments. 

This was also one of two or three songs I'd play in the hall at Santa Chiara, the former convent where I lived while studying renaissance art and architecture history in Tuscany.  The sun would set, and the reverberation was just divine.

I Wanna Touch My Penis: Public Media Download Media

And finally... we get to Lorne Enormous and the Steel Erection Band.  This band was a hilarious group of friends who all got together to record some songs for the soundtrack of a movie called Four Corners of Nowhere (you can actually youtube the trailer for it).

We laughed a lot when we wrote this tune.  And I stiull laugh when I hear it.  I also probably hadn't heard it in at least 15 years when I finally transferred it onto my computer to post here.

That movie went to Sundance Film Festival in 1995.

This is a good example of the guitar work I did when I played primarily electric... and you can tell that some 18 years later, this songwriter would re-emerge to write The Hooker Song, also available here on Patronism in purely demo format.


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